Debian's Outreach Program for Women (OPW) is underway. This is a huge thing and not just something that female developers need to be concerned with.
Many computer science schools see about twenty percent of places occupied by female students. In the Debian community, however, about one percent of developers are female. As there are about one thousand male developers, this suggests there are another one hundred potential female developers and contributors out there who are not aware of the fact that they could be part of Debian. Finding these people and helping them fulfil their potential makes the project better for everybody.
Women are heavy lifters
People should not assume that these women are going to need their hands held. When the Jitsi project recently moved to Github, the Github repository reports made the surprise revelation that Yana is the top contributor - by a fifty percent margin.
Will women save the world this week?
It is not just in software engineering that women have significant potential. As the men running the US bumble around with their high-stakes game of chicken, it is notable that last week the US Federal Reserve appointed their first female chairman, Janet Yellen. It is unlikely that her first meeting with female IMF boss Christine Lagarde would have satisfied stereotypes about casual gossip or shopping; more likely, they would be contemplating how to save the world economy if rogue congressmen push the US into default - a possibility that is no longer just an outlier.
Integrating financial software in Debian
With that in mind, one of the projects I've offered to mentor under OPW involves creating further integration between free software for finance and accounting on Debian. Several applicants have already contact me about this.
Fundraising to support OPW 2013
Debian is currently raising funds to support this program. The project administrators are hopefully going to provide more details soon about how funding will be allocated and how many projects will proceed.